On roundabouts

johnboy 8 October 2013 36

roundabout

With Canberra so famous for its roundabouts it’s worth noting The Economist has a story on their history, and the social capital required to make them work:

The fate of roundabouts abroad thus repeats in miniature that of another British export, parliamentary democracy—another fine idea that backfires when mixed with jiggery-pokery. Just as democracy tends not to work without a free press, an independent judiciary and other helpful institutions, so roundabouts need decent drivers, straight police and reasonable infrastructure to function. The lesson of both is that fine ideas can wind up looking naive if they take no account of context and history. Swindon wasn’t built in a day.

Something to think about.


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spades spades 1:03 pm 08 Oct 13

The biggest problem I have with roundabouts in Canberra is tailgating. When I moved here I was surprised at how many times I was being tailgated in roundabouts. Further observation reveals that very few Canberrans slow down to safe speeds.

YeahBuddy YeahBuddy 1:29 pm 08 Oct 13

The problem with Canberra roundabouts is that there a 15 of them on any given 2km stretch of road.

Where is the Tuesday parking snaps? I’ve been hanging out all morning!

vaguely vaguely 1:30 pm 08 Oct 13

spades said :

The biggest problem I have with roundabouts in Canberra is tailgating. When I moved here I was surprised at how many times I was being tailgated in roundabouts. Further observation reveals that very few Canberrans slow down to safe speeds.

They aren’t stop signs, it seems a good proportion of Canberrans struggle with the concept of a multi lane roundabout…

Pitchka Pitchka 1:45 pm 08 Oct 13

spades said :

The biggest problem I have with roundabouts in Canberra is tailgating. When I moved here I was surprised at how many times I was being tailgated in roundabouts. Further observation reveals that very few Canberrans slow down to safe speeds.

Driving through a roundabout at anything less that 80km/h is dangerous. No one is expecting you to be driving that slow..

enrique enrique 2:15 pm 08 Oct 13

Pitchka said :

Driving through a roundabout at anything less that 80km/h is dangerous. No one is expecting you to be driving that slow..

Straight to the pool room!!!

🙂

EvanJames EvanJames 3:11 pm 08 Oct 13

Good article… roundabouts rely on drivers doing the right thing. I posit that too many Canberra region drivers do not do the right thing. Some because they are arseholes, and most because they have absolutely no clue.

In the US, they have four-way stop signs, which rely even more on a certain degree of social capitol. And they work very well, I have never actually seen anyone exploit them, cheat, barge through or even go when it’s my turn and I am still sitting there trying to work out whose turn it is.

As for “no clue”, watch what drivers do on roundabouts. The minority indicate left when they are going to exit the roundabout. This is basic driving, and yet the majority either don’t indicate, or leave their right indicator on. The latter are signalling their breathtaking stupidity.

Pitchka Pitchka 3:24 pm 08 Oct 13

EvanJames said :

Good article… roundabouts rely on drivers doing the right thing. I posit that too many Canberra region drivers do not do the right thing. Some because they are arseholes, and most because they have absolutely no clue.

In the US, they have four-way stop signs, which rely even more on a certain degree of social capitol. And they work very well, I have never actually seen anyone exploit them, cheat, barge through or even go when it’s my turn and I am still sitting there trying to work out whose turn it is.

As for “no clue”, watch what drivers do on roundabouts. The minority indicate left when they are going to exit the roundabout. This is basic driving, and yet the majority either don’t indicate, or leave their right indicator on. The latter are signalling their breathtaking stupidity.

magiccar9 magiccar9 6:18 pm 08 Oct 13

EvanJames said :

Good article… roundabouts rely on drivers doing the right thing.

Um, I think driving in general relies on drivers doing the right thing.

Blen_Carmichael Blen_Carmichael 6:37 pm 08 Oct 13

The Yarra Glen roundabout usually brings out the lunatics, especially when one is turning right from Melrose Drive into Yamba Drive. Drivers travelling south on the Yarra Glen looking to exit into Melrose Drive are often flying, some to the extent where they can’t possibly stop safely to give way to traffic already on the roundabout.

artuoui artuoui 8:55 pm 08 Oct 13

Funny none of the comments have taken up the issue of straight police but have gone directly to abusing Canberra drivers. Why does the Economist even question the ability of queer police to enforce basic traffic regulations? Do the Economist realise the same constraints of ‘context and history’ impacts pretty forcefully on that ‘fine idea’ of free market capitalism they put so much of their own effort into trying to export across the world?

And how do we stop those dickheads who think they need to indicate right to enter a roundabout, then indicate left to get out of it again?

artuoui artuoui 9:02 pm 08 Oct 13

artuoui said :

Funny none of the comments have taken up the issue of straight police but have gone directly to abusing Canberra drivers. Why does the Economist even question the ability of queer police to enforce basic traffic regulations? Do the Economist realise the same constraints of ‘context and history’ impacts pretty forcefully on that ‘fine idea’ of free market capitalism they put so much of their own effort into trying to export across the world?

And how do we stop those dickheads who think they need to indicate right to enter a roundabout, then indicate left to get out of it again, when they’re going straight ahead?

canberracath canberracath 10:54 pm 08 Oct 13

I live two houses away from the roundabout in the above photo – before it was put in (2010? 2011 maybe?) there was at least one prang per month on that intersection caused by people speeding along Miller / Boldrewood St, but now there’s maybe one crash every six months. So it’s made a big difference. I’m still waiting to get hit by a car as I cycle through it, though – I’m sure that one day I’ll get clipped as someone takes the corner from Boldrewood onto David Street too quickly and without looking!

puggy puggy 8:36 am 09 Oct 13

artuoui said :

And how do we stop those dickheads who think they need to indicate right to enter a roundabout, then indicate left to get out of it again, when they’re going straight ahead?

The indicating left to exit is required “if practical”, but the indicating right upon entry when they’re going straight is an odd one. I don’t know how you stop it, but it is annoying. It’s also what I think of when people ask why do people stop when entering the outside lane of a two-lane roundabout when the other car is “turning right”.

Robertson Robertson 9:00 am 09 Oct 13

EvanJames said :

In the US, they have four-way stop signs, which rely even more on a certain degree of social capitol. And they work very well, I have never actually seen anyone exploit them, cheat, barge through or even go when it’s my turn ……

A well-armed nation is a polite nation….

EvanJames EvanJames 9:17 am 09 Oct 13

Blen_Carmichael said :

Drivers travelling south on the Yarra Glen looking to exit into Melrose Drive are often flying, some to the extent where they can’t possibly stop safely to give way to traffic already on the roundabout.

They are no doubt part of the ignorant majority who still think that if they’re approaching from the right, they have right of way, even before their wheels are on the roundabout.

Flying up to and into an intersection is generally a bad idea, it’s an intersection. Even if a car does have right of way, sensible people realise that an intersections, there are many vehicles coming together. Being able to avoid hitting one, yes even if it’s “in the wrong”, is the preferred option.

bryansworld bryansworld 10:23 am 09 Oct 13

Indicating left when exiting, even when simply going straight through, is very helpful to pedestrians. I wish more people would do it. It is also required by law.

bryansworld bryansworld 10:32 am 09 Oct 13

Yep, it’s a worry how many people think they have right of way because the car in front is going through and they are moving fast. Especially scary when you are on a bicycle or motorbike and arrived at the roundabout before they did…

EvanJames said :

Blen_Carmichael said :

Drivers travelling south on the Yarra Glen looking to exit into Melrose Drive are often flying, some to the extent where they can’t possibly stop safely to give way to traffic already on the roundabout.

They are no doubt part of the ignorant majority who still think that if they’re approaching from the right, they have right of way, even before their wheels are on the roundabout.

Flying up to and into an intersection is generally a bad idea, it’s an intersection. Even if a car does have right of way, sensible people realise that an intersections, there are many vehicles coming together. Being able to avoid hitting one, yes even if it’s “in the wrong”, is the preferred option.

watto23 watto23 11:07 am 09 Oct 13

bryansworld said :

Indicating left when exiting, even when simply going straight through, is very helpful to pedestrians. I wish more people would do it. It is also required by law.

Not strictly law. There is a clause saying where it is safe and practical to do so. There is always give way to the right, which is a give way sign and not a stop sign. Yes some peoples definition of giving way amuses me, either very extreme or very conservative.

On a small 1 laned roundabout, indicate left to turn left, right to turn right and no indication to go straight. Basically a left indicator to exit straight would need to be made very late in the intersection to avoid confusion with those turning left and thus rendering it meaningless anyway.

On dual lane roundabounts and larger roundabouts the rules are simple but many have no idea.
Before entering the roundabout, indicate left to turn left and keep indicating as you exit. Generally only done from the left lane except where marked.

For straight ahead it enter the intersection in either lane, where safe to do so (giving way to right), then indicate left to exit, normally as you have past the last left hand exit and are around the middle of the intersection.

For right turn its indicate right entering in the right lane (unless otherwise marked) and then indicate left after you pass the straight exit.

I dare say the people who can’t navigate roundabouts also can’t merge at 80 or 100 though.

carnardly carnardly 11:28 am 09 Oct 13

or the ones who MUST GET IN FRONT at all costs less they slow down for approximately 3 seconds…. *rolls eyes..*

cue the middle aged business man who almost killed me yesterday at the Lennox Gardens roundabout because he just HAD to push through first…. mr silver sports car starting with rego starting xxf or xff….

majuraman majuraman 3:49 pm 09 Oct 13

Can anyone answer this?- I am under the impression that the first car on the roundabout has right of way. It seems that the majority of drivers are under the impression that cars entering the roundabout from the right, have right of way- Which is true? My expectations have come close to causing bingles in roundabouts and frustration waiting to enter as cars in front of me are giving way, at the roundabout , to cars entering from the right who are still 30 metres away? What is the go?

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